By PETER ESILA
OK Tedi Mining Ltd in Western invests about US$20 million (K66.46 million) annually in drilling for reserves, chief executive and managing director Peter Graham says.
Graham said current exploration was focused near the Mt Fubilan mine and within existing special mining lease (SML).
“The most prospective targets indicate underground rather than open pit mining,” he said.
Graham said the life of the mine, based on current reserves and mining rate, would end around 2027.
“The mine is limited by an agreement with communities on the amount of waste material mined and placed in waste dumps,” he said.
“Without this limitation, mine life would be longer.
“Efforts are therefore being focused on potential stable waste dumps, in-pit waste disposal and a potential tailings storage facility.”
Meanwhile, OTML is a major producer of copper concentrate for the world smelting and refinery market in Germany, India, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.
The mine exports copper as a concentrate which contains gold and silver.
From start of operations in 1984 to end of 2018, Ok Tedi has produced 4.83 million metric tonnes of copper, 14.8 million ounces of gold and 32.7 million ounces of silver.
In addition to the SML, OTML holds a portfolio of several exploration leases (ELs), other leases for mining purposes (LMPs) under the PNG Land Act.
Apart from its direct monetary contribution, OTML is also involved in Western’s development through tax credit scheme and other infrastructure projects such as health centres, school classrooms, houses, roads, airstrips, jetties, water supply and communication systems for the villages.
By PETER ESILA